John & Margaret Shanks

Some people think when you come to live in a village it’s the end of life – nothing could be further from the truth according to John & Margaret Shanks.

As a keen gardener, Margaret was determined to find something that catered to the needs of her green thumb. “The home we’ve chosen at Wivenhoe is spacious – we look out onto a beautifully landscaped green belt and I can garden to my heart’s content in my own allocated garden space.”

The Shanks have created a lovely large vege patch, the fruits of which Margaret has been only too happy to share with residents and staff alike. “We eat something from the garden in our meal each night so it was important for me to be able to continue with that”. From Basil, broccoli and tomatoes to zucchinis, mint and more, it’s all there in the vege patch. The good news for Margaret and other keen gardeners is that the village also has provision for a community garden which the residents will be able to contribute to and enjoy.

The Shanks have been fortunate to continue their ongoing and extensive volunteering work within the wider community. “We always intended to come into a village – for us it was always about the community aspect. We did an awful lot of research before we decided to go with Wivenhoe Village and it came back primarily to maintaining an existing lifestyle.”

John referred to the move as ‘taking out an insurance policy that you hope to never use – it takes the pressure off’. John is a volunteer at the Mount Annan Botanic Gardens running tours, both he & Margaret also volunteer as “Friends of Wivenhoe” at the historic villa and both are also part of 4 different walking clubs, some of which they act as leaders for the groups.

“We love the bush – we love to walk through it and find interesting new things and that also appealed to us greatly about Wivenhoe. There are no hills, no steps or inclines and we have the glorious bushland to explore right at our doorstep.”

That sounds like an awful lot of busy to the average person but not according to John and Margaret. “We make sure we’re not busy being busy –people don’t always need to be on the go, it’s often just as important not to be busy and we make sure there is balance. We’re doing all the same things that we were doing before but now we’re doing it smarter – in a brand new home that requires less maintenance and work, we have more time to do the things that are important to us and it’s still all very accessible too”.

John and Margaret were particularly taken with the design of the home and its quality inclusions and finishes. “There is plenty of space, the smart design means the homes are so well placed and oriented, everything is useable. We have air from all four sides of the home – there is always a breeze and fresh air flowing throughout our home”.

The generous courtyard space onto an open parkland means the Shanks can spend more time in the garden. “We live outside – it’s an extension of our house and we spend so much time out here, it really suits all of the seasons and it’s really very private.”

Add to that a verandah out the front and they can chase or avoid the sun all day!

Words of advice from John and Margaret – do the things you enjoy! “You have to be young enough, both physically and mentally to have the ability to continue to do what you enjoy, so do it while you can.”